If Greg Olsen passes on Seahawks, which tight ends could Seattle target?
The Seahawks are still waiting to hear whether free agent tight end Greg Olsen will play in the Pacific Northwest in 2020.
If Olsen does become the newest member of the Seahawks, he would bring some star power to the locker room and become a big target for quarterback Russell Wilson, who has clamored publicly for more stars this offseason.
Olsen has been one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL since he entered the league in 2007 and he has earned three Pro Bowl nods and has three 1,000-yard seasons to his credit. He would be a welcome addition to a Seattle team that will need to add to that position group this offseason.
Will Dissly has looked like a star when healthy, but he’s played in just 10 games through two seasons. Jacob Hollister will likely be back, though he is a restricted free agent.
Luke Willson, who backed up Hollister after he signed with Seattle before Week 4, is an unrestricted free agent. Tyrone Swoopes could also be back, as he is an exclusive rights free agent, though he rarely played when active towards the end of the year. Ed Dickson is also under contract for 2020, but he may get cut to clear cap space. He appeared in 10 games in 2018 and missed all of 2019 due to injury.
If Olsen spurns the Seahawks for either the Buffalo Bills, the Washington Redskins or a career in broadcasting, what should the Seahawks do at tight end? Here are some free agent tight ends that Seattle could target should Olsen choose another path.
Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry
These two belong in the same category because while nearly every team would love to have them on board, both are seen as likely franchise tag candidates, thus it’s unlikely either hits the open market.
If they do, the Seahawks would be wise to at least reach out to the pair of 25-year-olds.
Hooper has been fairly durable during his four NFL seasons, playing in 59 of 64 possible regular season games. He has also been efficient, with over 500 receiving yards each of the last three years and 16 total touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and 2019.
While Hooper has been fairly durable, Henry has not.
After appearing in 29 of 32 regular season games in his first two seasons, Henry, missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL. He also missed four games in 2019 with a leg injury.
When Henry has played, he’s been rally good, totaling 17 touchdowns and having at least 478 receiving yards in the three seasons he’s played at least one game in.
If they do hit the open market, trying to pair one of those two with Dissly and Hollister would make for a potent and dangerous passing attack, especially in the red zone.
McDonald, 29, is another name that’s unlikely to hit the open market as he has a club option for his 2020 contract worth roughly $6.5 million, per Spotrac, but would be a reliable second tight end for the team.
A big body at 6’4 and nearly 270 pounds, his receiving numbers don’t pop out at you – he has a career-high of 610 yards with his second-highest total being 391 – he’s an able blocker and another big body to use in the red zone.
Seattle also has some familiarity with McDonald as he played with the San Francisco 49ers from 2013 to 2016.
He enjoyed his best season just two years ago with Ben Roethlisberger passing him the ball, and after Big Ben appeared in just two games last year, he’s expected to be back and healthy for 2020. I’d expect McDonald to remain in black and yellow for at least one more year.
Ebron, 26, struggled to live up to his status as a first-round pick during his time with the Detroit Lions, but he broke out in a big way in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.
During that season, Ebron had a career-high 750 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns, which was tied for second most in the NFL. That year, he was catching passes from Andrew Luck, who retired that offseason.
In 2019, Ebron struggled to find a rhythm with new quarterback Jacoby Brissett, has he had just 375 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.
Ebron is a big red zone target who can also get vertical as he is an exceptional athlete at 6’4 and over 250 pounds.
The Colts may try hard to get him back to either develop more chemistry with Brissett or to be a safety blanket in case the team decides to go another direction at quarterback.
If the Seahawks are looking for another bounce-back candidate who has flashed potential, such as Ebron, Eifert could be a target.
Eifert, 29, had a solid rookie campaign in 2013 for the Cincinnati Bengals with 445 yards and two touchdowns and after playing in just two games in 2014, he broke out in 2015 with 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games.
Eifert has struggled to stay healthy since then, playing in just 14 of a possible 48 games from 2016 to 2018. He did appear in all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2019, but the team had a new head coach in Zac Taylor who had C.J. Uzomah listed as the starter in all 16 games while Eifert started in just four of them.
The Notre Dame product was more productive than Uzomah with 436 yards and three touchdowns, but he may be the odd man out as both Uzomah and 2019 second-round pick Drew Sample, who played at the University of Washington, are slated to return for 2020.
In his first three seasons, the Bengals made it to the wild card round and lost. Since then, Cincinnati hasn’t made the playoffs.
If Eifert wants to play for a team with a better chance at a Super Bowl, Seattle is definitely a place to look.
Fells, 33, has had an interesting professional career to say the least.
After playing college basketball at UC Irvine, Fells played professional basketball from 2008 to 2012 in various countries across the world.
In 2013, he decided to give football a try, and actually signed his first NFL contract with the Seahawks. After spending most of the 2013 offseason with Seattle, he was waived shortly before the regular season and signed with the Arizona Cardinals on their practice squad.
After three seasons with Arizona, one with Detroit and one with Cleveland, Fells had emerged as a favorite target of Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans.
Fells appeared in all 16 games and had a career-high 341 yards and seven touchdowns. While he was reliable in the red zone, he also was great at helping move the sticks as 22 of his 34 catches were for first downs.
Fells is older than all those listed above except for Olsen, but he has only been in the league since 2013.
One of just four 2019 Seahawks who was on the team’s 2013 Super Bowl-winning team, it was fun to see Willson back in a Seattle uniform.
Willson, 30, has never played up to the level of a No. 1 tight end, but he has always been a solid No. 2 who is an underrated blocker.
After playing for the Seahawks from 2013 to 2017, he signed with the Lions, who released him after 2018. He spent the 2019 offseason with the Oakland Raiders but didn’t make the team. After Seattle traded No. 2 tight end Nick Vannett to the Steelers, Willson signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks.
Wilson has just 11 touchdowns in his career and hasn’t scored since 2017, but he’s a reliable blocker and is a fun character in the locker room.
If Willson wants to continue playing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back with the Seahawks for 2020.
For a full list of free agent tight ends, visit this link.